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Apple is next in our series on our latest project, Who’s Behind the Bay Area’s Most Powerful Companies?, which Kyle and Matthew have kicked off with posts on Chevron, McKesson,

Apple is next in our series on our latest project, Who’s Behind the Bay Area’s Most Powerful Companies?, which Kyle and Matthew have kicked off with posts on Chevron, McKesson, and Hewlett Packard.  The project is being funded by our pitch on

It’s no secret that Silicon Valley has a cutthroat employment cycle. Companies borrow employees from one another left and right and, generally, if one employee makes the bold move to switch over to a competing company, he usually takes others with him.

Apple is no exception. As one of the most established tech companies in Silicon Valley – and number eight on our list of the 10 most powerful Bay Area Companies – it’s only natural that a lot of employee turnover take place. Apple employees past, present, and future have ties to IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Yahoo and Google – all the biggest Silicon Valley players, as well as smaller start-ups. Follow along with these relationships at Apple’s interlocks page.

Executive leadership
Much has been circulated about the fabled founding of Apple by Steves Jobs and Wozniak in 1976, how Jobs is a college dropout who started the company with Wozniak, who left Apple in 1985 and has been developing computers-for-education programs ever since. Since its founding, Apple has become a major competitor in Silicon Valley and has grown astronomically to become a leader in personal computer sales.

Board members
It seems Jobs buys into the “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” philosophy of business, since he frequently reciprocates professional relationships. Former Vice President Al Gore has been a director at Apple since 2003, so in turn, Jobs sits on the board for Current Media, Gore’s climate change media outlet. Jobs is also a director at San Francisco-based Gap Inc. and, in turn, former Gap CEO Millard Drexler sits on Apple’s board.

Besides Gore, Apple’s board represents an impressive swath of American tech and business. Key directors include Arthur Levinson, also a director at Google and former CEO of Genentech; William Campbell, former CEO of Intuit and chairman of the Board of Trustees at Columbia University; Jerome York, former CFO at IBM; Andrea Jung, CEO of Avon and also a director at General Electric; and Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, who has been an Apple director since 2006.

Loyalties severed?
In the past few years, several Apple employees have migrated over to iPhone competitor Palm, the original maker of the Palm Pilot. In an effort to rebrand itself, Palm hired Jeff Zwerner, who was an art director and creative director for packaging at Apple, this year and Jon Rubinstein, who headed the iPod division until 2006, as its CEO to amp up the Palm Pre, which is supposed to compete with the iPhone competitor.  Also, former Apple CFO Fred Anderson is currently on the board for Palm.

Currently, the main three lobbyists at Apple are Lisa Errion, Joseph Fortson, and Joshua Tenuta. Fortson worked as a legislative assistant in Congress and Tenuta was a lobbyist for the American Electronics Association. Both Errion and Sue Cronin, senior manager for Latin America government affairs, were plucked from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative in July 2007 to lobby for Apple and both have deep government backgrounds. James Burger, a former Apple lobbyist, has been lobbying tech giant Intel since 2005 on behalf of Dow Lohnes PLLC.

There are a lot more connections to be uncovered and they will be posted on our lob gin the following weeks.  If this research interests you, donate at so you can see more of it.   Thanks to our generous donors, we’ve raised a lot so far, but we need one last push to make our fundraising goal!